When one thinks of slavery in America, the only thought that comes to mind is Africans picking cotton in the fields of America. What many Americans don't know is that the Irish preceded the Africans as slaves in the early British colonies of America and the West Indies. They toiled in the tobacco fields of Virginia and Maryland and the sugar cane fields of Barbados and Jamaica.
For over 179 years, the Irish were the primary source of slave labor in the British American colonies. Proclamation 1625 is the unveiling of the true and untold history of slavery in America. King James I's Proclamation ordering the Irish be placed in bondage opened the door to wholesale slavery of Irish men, women and children. This was not indentured servitude but raw, brutal mistreatment that included being beaten to death.
The Irish were forced from their land, kidnapped, fastened with heavy iron collars around their necks, chained to 50 other people and held in cargo holds aboard ships as they were transported to the American colonies.
During the early colonial period, free European and free African settlers socialized and married. Intermarriages existed in the colonies for over a hundred years until the birth and evolution of white racism. The Irish and African slaves were housed together and were forced to mate to provide the plantation owners with the additional slaves they needed.
The British abolished slavery in 1833. This act emancipated the Irish slaves in the British West Indies. America abolished slavery in 1865. None of this freed the Irish to the degree they wanted because America had classified them as 'colored' and treated them accordingly. It was only after the ruling class accepted them as 'white' that they could finally say: "I'm free, white and 21."
Proclamation 1625 is for those who want to know the true and untold history of slavery in America.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"This very informative book attacks the common misconception that Africans were the only slaves in the American colonies. The idea of “indentured servants” has mass appeal but, it is sometimes used as a broad brush to hide the harsh truth about Irish slavery in America. This is a well-documented book, and the author uses his extensive research to set the religious, economic, racial, and nationalistic backdrop for the English justification of the enslavement of the Irish people. It is written in the style of a CEO that does not mince words or add unnecessary fluff. A great read!"
As an educator, I believe that historians have done a disservice to the children of America by not accurately reporting our history. Research done by Mr. Byrd and others support the fact that Irish people were chained and bound and brought to America and other islands like Barbados, against their will. They worked in plantation fields along with the African slaves and were bought and sold and put on the auction block. Yes, there were Irish indentured servants, but there were also Irish slaves. There was so much information included in this book about the practices and traditions of the British that had a direct impact on the colonization of America. Much of it was often cruel and barbaric, however, it does not negate the fact that it happened and must be reported as such. Let's get it right and report history as it occurred and incorporate this information into our history books. Great job, Mr. Byrd!
Excellent book. Very educational and informative
Perhaps one of the most difficult arguments to make, that the Irish were once slaves, Herbert Byrd's Proclamation 1625 presents the proper documentation to prove it existed despite past and present attempts to deny this historical fact. I've always wondered how and why America's brand of slavery was far more harsh and permanent in comparison to any other kind in the world. This book answers many if not all questions leading to my curiosity and intrigue. The author chronicles a series of acts passed both in England and America that ties economic interests with social policy, that of slavery and legalized racism. He draws parallels between the dehumanizing propaganda aimed at both Irish Catholics and African Americans. With the comparison, the author dispels myths I've always accepted as truth. For example, I assumed that the presence of mulattoes in past American populations was a result of repeated outbreaks of slave masters raping countless enslaved black women. On the contrary, the book offers evidence that the race blending was done so voluntarily out of a reciprocated expression of affection perhaps rooted from the shared Irish and African experience of the atrocities of slavery. Historians in denial have criticized the book insisting that the Irish only came as indentured servants; however, the photographs can't lie as images of period caricatures from newspapers as well as copies of legal documents are plentiful throughout the book. Proclamation 1625 should be a required reading for students of American and World history because it exposes and reveals the origin of a "necessary evil," that through a dynamic evolution reverberates centuries after its emancipation.
Wow! Couldn't put the book down. Wonderful research by the writer. I hope this becomes a movie.
Very interesting! I never knew that the Irish people were enslaved. They were called "indentured servants" but this book reveals the harsh treatment and human injustice they received. Kidnapped, beaten, sold at slave auctions, transported to faraway lands, bred to produce slave workers? That is slavery. This was never taught in my history class and it brings a very interesting light upon Irish history. I would definitely recommend this book !